The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Moratorium Lifted

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted June 22, 2010

A federal judge in New Orleans today lifted the ban on deepwater drilling.

In a 22-page ruling, Judge Martin Feldman wrote:

"The blanket moratorium, with no parameters, seems to assume that because one rig failed and although no one yet fully knows why, all companies and rigs drilling new wells over 500 feet also universally present an imminent danger."

The White House announced it would file an immediate appeal.

In a statement, API welcomed Judge Feldman's decision to lift the moratorium on Gulf of Mexico deepwater operations and listed some of the activities the industry is taking to improve the safety of deepwater operations.

Immediately after the Deepwater Horizon accident, the industry formed two task forces to examine safety and environmental protection, and recently it formed two additional task forces on subsea well control and oil spill response.

With regard to the moratorium, API said:

"The moratorium was an initial reaction to concerns about the safety of offshore oil and natural gas operations. However, an extended moratorium would have a tremendous impact on the nation's energy security - and cause significant harm to the region of the country that was already suffering from the spill - without raising safety or improving industry procedures. With this ruling, our industry and its people can get back to work to provide Americans with the energy they need, and do it safely and without harming the environment."